Frank Agsteribbe (Ghent, 1968) is a Belgian conductor, keyboard player, composer, and researcher, always searching for direct expression and colourful music making. His repertoire reaches from the 16th century till the music of our time, including opera, vocal and instrumental baroque music, and various contemporary art forms. Always aiming for informed performance practice, he nevertheless uses the information to achieve a living, contemporary artistic experience. With many years of experience in different aspects of musical life, he constructs bridges between history and present, between knowledge and expression, between composing and performing.
Having studied the harpsichord and organ with distinguished teachers as Jos Van Immerseel, Gustav Leonhardt, Davitt Moroney and Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini, Frank Agsteribbe was invited to join famous baroque ensembles like La Petite Bande, Collegium Vocale, Huelgas Ensemble, Anima Eterna, and Concerto Köln, with whom he performed worldwide.
In 2005, Frank Agsteribbe, together with bass player Tom Devaere, founded the new, young and dynamic Flemish B’Rock baroque orchestra. He has been the first musical director until 2013, when he decided to focus on composing and conducting. B’Rock is now well established in Europe and Frank has conducted them during the Opera Festival in Rotterdam, the Festivals of Potsdam Sanssouci, the Klara Festival van Vlaanderen Brussels, the Gergiev Festival in Rotterdam and the MA Festival Brugge, where he also directed a special event of John Cage’s HPSCHD. He has lead them in a production of Cage's Atlas Ecliptcalis for deSingel, Antwerp and conducted a production of Purcell’s Indian Queen for the Brussels Kunstenfestivaldesarts.
In 2010, Frank was the featured young artist at the 2010 Klara Festival van Vlaanderen in Brussels. He conducted the opening concert of the festival held at BOZAR, in a special Mozart program with Concerto Köln, soprano Simone Kermes and pianist Alexei Lubimov. He also directed a theatre production of Bach Danced with the dancer Claire Croize and the music of J S Bach.
Frank Agsteribbe has made many recordings. With B’Rock he has cds of Haendel and Telemann and a CD of the 18th Dutch composer David Petersen, and Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons combined with John Cage’s Quartet in 4 Parts in a special arrangement by Frank for baroque strings – all on the Et’cetera label. He recorded a solo CD devoted to keyboard music by the young Haydn, on the Richard Dott organ in Illzach, Alsace, France. In 2013 he recorded his new compositions for the Viennese fortepiano on his original Schantz from 1828. With cantoLX, he recorded the two books of Arie Musicali by Frescobaldi for the label Et’Cetera, which was honored by the nomination for the 2015 International Classical Music Awards. They also recorded Luigi Rossi’s Oratorio per la Settimana Santa, and Requiem music by 18the century Flemish composers Fiocco and Brehy.
As an opera conductor, his repertoire starts with the earliest baroque operas as “La Dafne” by Marco da Gagliano (1608), over “L’Orontea” by Marc’Antonio Cesti, “Dido and Aeneas” by Purcell, includes Mozart’s “Zauberflöte”, Bertoni’s “Orfeo” (1776) and Rossini’s “Italiana in Algeri”, romantic opera as Puccini’s “La Bohème”, and goes well into the 20th century with “The Rake’s Progress” by Stravinsky, “Jenufa” by Janacek, “Le Vin Herbé” by Frank Martin, and Giorgio Battistelli’s “Prova d’Orchestra”. He has worked at the Vlaamse Opera (Antwerp-Gent), the Ruhrtriennale (Germany), Castleward Opera in Belfast, Teatro Sao Carlos Lisbon, and Le Grand Théâtre Luxembourg. In spring and summer 2012, he was engaged by La Monnaie in Brussels as an assistant of René Jacobs (Haendel, “Orlando”), and in the Aix-en-Provence Festival in “La Finta Giardiniera”(Mozart).
An experienced orchestral conductor, Frank’s symphonic orchestral repertoire ranges from Beethoven to Mahler and Brahms to Schoenberg and Britten. Choral repertoire also features well in his repertoire and he conducted the English première of Robert Levin’s new edition of the Mozart c-minor Mass K 427, during the Dartington International Summer School. In December 2013, he conducted the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, and in 2014 several concerts with the Belgian National Orchestra followed.
Frank Agsteribbe was the founder and first conductor of the vocal ensemble cantoLX from Luxembourg. Notable performances took place during the MAfestival in Bruges, the Early Music Festival in Utrecht, the Festival of Flanders Kempen, and with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg. One of Frank Agsteribbe's focuses is early music from Flanders: he re-created music by Philippus van Steelant, Fiocco, Brehy, Vanden Gheyn, di Martinelli, Belcier and Robson. They released the two books with Arie Musicali by Frescobaldi for the Et'Cetera label, which earned them a nomination for the 2015 International Classical Music Awards. Afterwards, two more recordings were released on the same label: the Oratorio per la Settimana Santa by Luigi Rossi, and “Flemish Requiem”, with funeral masses by Fiocco and Brehy. In 2022 he released the CD "Antwerp Requiem" with cantoLX and B'Rock orchestra on the Pentatone label. The rediscovered requiems of the 17th-century Antwerp composer Philippus van Steelant were praised by the international press (including one of the best CDs of the year 2022 for the British magazine Gramophone).
Frank Agsteribbe has written more than 100 compositions, most of them commissioned by e.g. the Flemish classical radio, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, music theatre company Transparant, November Music. Many compositions have been recorded by the radio or are available on CD. His composition Et nova sunt semper, written for the European Radio Union, has been broadcasted throughout Europe, Canada and the United States. For De Bijloke in Ghent, Frank Agsteribbe wrote a new composition for 6-octave fortepiano, premiered by Ronald Brautigam. Frank also wrote the obligatory work for the MA Festival Brugge International Harpsichord Competition 2010 and for the Fortepiano edition 2019. Since May 2013, he wrote several new compositions for the Viennese fortepiano, including The Eye, and recorded a selection of these. He develops a new series of graphical scores, which raised much interest in the art scene and lead to his first exposition at the AP’ART gallery in Ghent (September 2015).
Frank is also a busy chamber musician and performs often with violin partner Guido de Neve. They perform and recorded the 6 Sonatas for violin and harpsichord by J.S. Bach, Flemish 18th century music, and contemporary works. In spring 2015, he played the fortepiano in a series of concerts with tenor Julian Prégardien. Other chamber music partners include Anne Cambier (soprano), Patrick Beuckels and Toshiyuki Shibata (traverso), and Tony Nijs (viola).
Frank Agsteribbe is professor, conductor, and project leader of the New Music Group Ensemble XXI at the Antwerp Royal Conservatory since 1989.
He is based in Ghent (B) and Châtel-Montagne (FR).